Friday, January 5, 2018

"On Building An Aging In Place Services Business"

Many people get their Certified Aging In Place Specialist (CAPS) designation with the thoughts of starting a new business or strengthening the one they already have. This is a great way to use the insights gained through the program and begin serving the community. However, it takes a little planning to get the ball rolling.

One of the major differences in an aging in place services business and a retail business or another type of sales business where a product is involved is that typically we aren't dealing with a product - at least not just a product. We are working with individuals in their homes and providing a service to them. Sometimes that service involves the installation of equipment, cabinets, flooring, lighting, hardware, windows, doors, bath fixtures, environmental systems, and other types of products, but these are used in conjunction with an overall performance plan. We are there to serve the customer and do what they need and want rather than getting what we want by having someone purchase a product we have for sale.

While we use various products to achieve the overall plan of addressing the client's needs, we aren't showing up at their door with a product that we want to sell them totally apart from trying to help them create a more friendly, accessible, safer, or comfortable living environment. With what we do, products of various types are simply tools that we use to achieve the overall scope of services the client agrees to have us perform and not just a single product that we sell and deliver or install. There is much more of a connection between us and the client with what we do. There is absolutely nothing wrong with selling just a product, but often the client does not want or need that product, and the salesman then tries to overcome that resistance to still make a sale. We are using products to help achieve an overall plan for our clients and are interested in improving their lifestyle and the way they live in and use their homes. Products are just part of the solutions we create and are secondary to helping them have a better home as a result of our efforts.

There are many occupations involved in delivering aging in place services, and we can structure a delivery system based on the skills and training we had prior to getting our CAPS training. There is plenty of work to go around, and we need to rely on our own skill set and professional experience as well as the skills and expertise of those we choose to partner with to deliver our services.

For instance, occupational therapists, consultants, physical therapists, non-profit agencies, and others can market and conduct home assessments and evaluations to identify what the residents of a home could benefit from in terms of improvements, modifications, or renovations - to improve their safety, mobility, comfort, and general quality of life, but they will need someone who can actually construct those improvements and make them happen. Conversely, contractors can create solutions but often are going to need the input from others to understand what the physical needs are of the client that should be addressed or accounted for in a design. Similarly, designers, equipment specialists, and others all have a part to play in offering comprehensive aging in place services to the renter or owner. There are dozens of other occupations that can participate in creating and delivering effective solutions for our clients.

To get started with our business, or to build upon what we already have, we need to identify potential strategic partners in our marketplace that we can work with who share our work ethic and overall approach to creating aging in place solutions. We also need to be patient. It may take a little time to complete our planning, begin our marketing, create those relationships, and begin attracting clients. We have taken the first step by becoming CAPS trained.


Steve HoffackerCAPS, CEAC, SHSS, is a licensed Certified Aging In Place Specialist - Master Instructor and best-selling author of aging in place books. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit or call 561-685-5555. Also, check out the "Aging & Accessibility" groups on Facebook and LinkedIn.